Artsy, Black and White, Fine Art Photography, Photography

Influences and Inspirations in Phototgraphy

Like anything else, you bring yourself to your photography. Your photography is a distillation of experiences and the art and media you consume. Like writing, painting, songwriting – pretty much every creative endeavor – it all gets thrown in the mix.

Along with that comes the importance of the idea of curating what you consume, media-wise. For a writer, this means reading, voraciously, not just the stuff you like or the stuff you would like to write but as much as you can bridging as many genres as you can. Photography as a visual medium has an even greater responsibility not just to look, but to see.

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Fortunately, photography lays its past, present, and ideas about its future out to see for everyone. A lot of photographers today lock themselves into a certain style or genre, emulating but not innovating. Some photographers ignore what has gone before entirely rallying around the mantra that art is subjective as an excuse not to elevate their work or learn. Both approaches are creatively myopic.

My own personal journey in photography has been dictated by being genuinely curious about what came before and attentive to where the road may lead.

I don’t consider myself an innovator by any means, in fact, I would probably consider myself a classicist. But I couldn’t do that without a healthy knowledge of many different styles of photography.

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Take the images in today’s post. These were not planned. I was visiting with family and my youngest niece was petitioning to go outside. Forced to wait she reacted as most 3-year olds do; she hung around the door singing to herself and hanging all over it. Something that caused me to reach for the camera and take these three images.

It was only later that I realized what I saw and recognized the inspiration to grab the camera. I’ve mentioned before how one of my main influences is photographer Ralph Gibson. Gibson is all over these images. I’m still happy with them, but I have to acknowledge the influence that caused me to snap the shutter in the first place.

Your creativity is a river, it should be evolving and changing, taking things in, sweeping along, then leaving them on the shore as you mature as an artist. And occasionally you’ll get a reminder of where it is you’ve come from. An echo of the visual vocabulary you’ve built up over the years. It should make you smile, I did.

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Black and White, Color, Photography, Portrait, portrait photography

A Quick Portrait Session, Rustic Fun

The last few days have been rather busy. Nothing to complain about there. One of the highlights of that busy-ness was a quick and fun portrait session. Fall colors are not quite in full effect but the session was successful nonetheless. The young man I was to photograph was full of personality. Like most little ones it took a minute to warm up to this stranger with the weird contraption trying to get him to smile, but he was a trooper.

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The outdoor setting was a good compliment to his classic denim wardrobe. The addition of a favorite toy helped elicit a little more emotion and interaction. Unpredictability when photographing the little ones is alway an adventure, but a rewarding one.

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The challenge of being true to a child’s personality should never be taken lightly. When done well it produces a lasting testament and cherished memory. Delivering photos like these to appreciative parents is one of the best things about my photography.

TECHNICAL: Fujifilm XT-2 & XF 56mm f/1.2

Black and White, Everyday Life, Photography, Street Photography, things seen

Scenes From A State Fair #3

Another Monday another round of images. Things have been keeping me busy and these posts are a nice opportunity to slow down and reflect a bit.

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More images from my recent visit to the Washington State Fair. I don’t know if I mentioned but there were lots of other photographers present. Some were obviously using photography as an adjunct to their enjoyment of the fair. Others, like the two older gentlemen with backpack, tripods, and a full kit…were also there for enjoyment, but photography was obviously paramount in their purpose. I fell into the former category. Rarely am I to be found without a camera, but except when engaged professionally it’s as an enhancement of the experience. I have a particularly abysmal memory for events and experiences (facts are quite the opposite). For me, photography also functions as a form of memento vivere that makes re-experiencing those moments easier. Or else they would be lost.

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Upcoming, I will have some street photography to feature here on the blog. For the interested, a comparison can be made between these images and my style of “true” street photography.

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So actually, that’s all there is for this series of images. Next post will be something completely different.

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Black and White, Color, Editorial, Photography

Scenes From A State Fair #2

Another set of images from the Washington State Fair. The similarities between this type of photography and street photography lie in the necessity of being constantly aware of your surroundings.

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Things are always happening with such rapidity that if you are not aware and present, always observing, you will see the shot just a second too late.

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Rides dotting the landscape provided opportunities to try to capture some sense of the experience. I toyed with the idea of using motion blur to give a sense of motion, but ultimately decided against it and tried instead to find moments of expression from the riders, all the better to give a sense of the experience.

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There will likely be a couple more posts on this topic, a few more set more firmly on terra firma.

Black and White, Color, Photography, Street Photography, things seen

Scenes From A State Fair #1

The Washington State Fair, known colloquially as the Puyallup Fair, is an annual event in the state of Washington and one of the largest state fairs in the nation.

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Traditionally, school-aged children are permitted a ticket or two to gain free entrance to the fair where they can ride any number of dizziness-inducing rides, and sample the delicious fair….fare. Elephant ears (a cinnamon encrusted pastry) and scones are legendary.

It had actually been a few years since I attended the fair and by my recollection, the fairground space used has increased over the years. Always one for a lark I did manage to find my way onto two rides; The Zipper and The Enterprise. I imagine The Enterprise was trying to avoid copyright infringement on the name…by infringing two other copyrights.

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I wrestled with taking the Fujifilm X-Pro2 or X-T2. Generally, the X-Pro2 has been my “walkaround” camera while I’ve been using the X-T2 for studio work. I would have taken the X-T2 without the battery grip, but at the last minute went with X-Pro2. I did, however, get a bit edgier (/s) by not taking the XF35mm f/2. Instead, I took the XF56mm f1.2 and XF23mm f/2. The XF56mm f1.2 is a marvel. The XF23mm f2 is a fine lens that I don’t use nearly enough.

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For the day the shooting conditions were not ideal. Cloudy and overcast, things were not helped by a miasmic haze that clung in the air due to the wildfires raging here in the Pacific Northwest.

All in all, it was a fun day and there are a few posts worth of images to prove it. State fairs are excellent opportunities for a couple of different styles of photography. Many of the skills that go into street photography and landscape photography, in terms of framing and consideration of what makes an image work, are readily applied on the fairground.

Artsy, Black and White, Color, Fine Art Photography, flower photography, Flowers, Photography, Still Life

Sunflowers – Flower Photography

I have been including fine art flower photography in my photographic oeuvre almost since I first picked up a camera. There’s no real mystery to it. I have mentioned it before but flowers are a fantastic photographic subject because of their availability and infinite form. There are very few flowers that are not a worthy of photographic attention. Of course, like everyone else I have my favorites. I’m very partial to lilies (Peace and Stargazer, thank you), tulips, and now sunflowers.

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Yes, consider the humble sunflower. Okay, it’s a pretty popular flower. It’s an evocative flower. The color, the shape of the petals, the variety of different breeds. All of this is in aid of saying that I photographed a ton of sunflowers recently.

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As usual, my fine art prints are available at several portals including artspan, pixels.com, and redbubble. Additionally, I’m offering a limited discount on a 20″ by 16″ canvas of Sunflower #6 here (until September 13, 2017).

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These images have become some of my recent faves. I find there is something meditative about these particular images. There’s something about the shapes and textures of the sunflower. What do you think?

Artsy, Black and White, Photography, Portrait, things seen

The Sketch Artist

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If I could draw or paint to any acceptable degree I probably wouldn’t be a photographer.

I’ve spent probably close to a year coming to grips with my color photographic work. I began with black and white film (Kodak Plus-X and Fuji Acros being favorites) and for a time really struggled with color work. Especially digital. I finally got to the point where I was comfortable enough…but if you are engaged in a creative pursuit you know “comfortable enough”, never is.

So I would work at it. I now think my color work is as strong as my black and white work. Usually.

At any rate, you can judge because the next post is all about some recent fine art work and features color in equal amounts to monochrome.

Artsy, Black and White, Color, Fine Art Photography, flower photography, Flowers, Photography

Tulips – Flower Photography

 

There are a few flowers I really enjoy photographing. Lilies, tulips, and rhododendrons are counted among that number. As a common photographic subject, flowers are appreciated for their variety of form, intricacy, and emotional connection. Few people don’t have some level of appreciation for flowers. It’s no wonder that flower photography is such a popular genre.

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Take these tulips. I went for a classical representation. A simple black background and a single light source positioned to reveal detail. My goal with these images was to give the viewer a chance to appreciate not just the obvious prettiness of the tulips, but also take a moment to consider the amount of detail provided by nature. The lines of the petals, the dusting of pollen that can be seen in some the images, little details that can provoke an inner dialogue.

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I especially like the cutaway image that reveals more of the inner flower. It is an uncommon viewpoint, and I think imparts a greater sense of character. The slightly warm tone added to this black and white image was a whim, but one I think works.

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Each of the images shown here are important for me to have created. Like with any creative act it was about expressing something for myself and then sharing it with the rest of the world.Each of the images shown here is available for purchase here.

The images shown here are available for purchase here.